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The World's First Railway SystemEnterprise, Competition, and Regulation on the Railway Network in Victorian Britain$
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Mark Casson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213979.001.0001

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Railways in the Victorian Economy

Railways in the Victorian Economy

(p.30) 2 Railways in the Victorian Economy
The World's First Railway System

Mark Casson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Victorian Britain was not so committed to laissez faire as some historians have suggested. Although railways were privately promoted they needed to be authorized individually by Local & Personal Acts of Parliament. Railways were only one of a number of innovative types of project promoted in Victorian Britain; others included ports and harbours, and gas, electricity, and water schemes. Railways connected mining and manufacturing districts to ports, and connected major towns and cities to London. Together with ocean shipping, they formed a crucial part of the steam-powered inter-modal international system of transport on which the British Empire was based.

Keywords:   railway, project, British Empire, Act of Parliament, steam, system

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